Now that the goo-goos have stopped cooing for a moment about the Super PAC disarmament pact between likely U.S. Senate rivals Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren, it’s time for the real world to weigh in – specifically free speech advocates and hard-headed business folk.
FOR SHEER antidemocratic gall, it is hard to top the so-called “People’s Pledge’’ signed on Monday by US Senator Scott Brown and Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren. The agreement is designed to keep third-party advertising from playing a role in their closely watched race for the seat that Brown won in a special election in 2010. Of course there is not the slightest chance the deal will actually keep independent ads off the airwaves or the Internet between now and November’s election. Yet Brown and Warren claim to be sincere in their determination to keep third parties from trying to influence this year’s campaign.
If so, shame on them.
Jacoby contends that the deal is not in the public interest, as the prospective candidates say, only in their own. “Even for a pair of Massachusetts politicians,” he writes,” it takes remarkable chutzpah to demand that citizens stifle themselves about a political choice that may affect their families and fortunes for years to come.”
By “citizens,” of course, he means deep-pocketed special interests. Then again, if corporations can be people, why not citizens as well?
Boston Herald columnist Jessica Heslam, by contrast, examines the business side of the equation:
Pols’ pact could cost local TV
The pact between U.S. Senate rivals Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren to block political attack ads from outside groups has First Amendment advocates fuming and could cost Boston TV stations millions in potential revenue — although one former exec believes there’s plenty of money to go around.
Heslam touches on First Amendment issues (“probably lawful,” says civil-rights attorney Harvey Silverglate) and the potential financial fallout (the agreement won’t stick, says broadcast consultant Ed Goldman).
But here’s the hardworking staff’s favorite part:
The campaigns are planning to send letters to all media outlets, asking them to respect their agreement and to reject ads placed by outside groups in the race.
Shut up! No explanation needed, right?